A mineshaft full of gnolls – by Tamir Code/Decimator

Session 27 January 2022

Tamir Code

Prologue: An interesting read


Tamir Code climbs up the stairs from the guild training room after preparing for his next quest to fix a gnoll problem in the nearby mines to the southwest. Arriving in the guild common room he looks around and sees a crowded hall full of adventurers. It is a mixed bunch, consisting of humans, elves, orcs, tieflings, satyr, harengon, and even a dragonborn, genasi, fairy, an aasimar, and himself, being a warforged. Most of the adventurers in the common room are engaged in conversation regarding their adventures, drinking, and/or gambling whilst having a good time. Tamir walks towards the guild reception meaning to ask Desmund some questions, but passing the magic shop he is called over by the magic shopkeeper Rogma.
“Tamir, come here! I have some information regarding that item you were asking about.”. Curious about what the strange beholder-like shopkeeper with glasses has to say he walks into the magic shop. “What can you tell me about it?”, Tamir asks. Rogma starts explaining, “Well, to craft such an item you would need the following materials: a periapt of wound closing, a helm of comprehend languages, a minotaur horn, the mouth tentacle of a mindflayer, and mimic adhesive. These are not easily found and will require some effort, but should you manage to find them you will be able to craft with them the item you desire.”. “That will take a great deal of time. These monsters are not easily found!”, Tamir exclaims. Tamir slides a gold coin over the table towards Rogma and thanks him. Then he walks out of the magic shop and into the common room.

Zeph Glitterflitter zooms around the common room and shouts: “AAAH! People, we have to do the Purple Worm quest! I need one of the beasts’ teeth! Who wants to help me?!” All heroes hearing this burst out in laughter jesting about the suicide mission, comparing it to poking a bear with a toothpick. The fire genasi Ignis turns to Zeph and asks, “Why do you need a purple worm tooth?” “Because Rogma needs one to make me something I want.”, Zeph confesses. Several heroes reassure Zeph that when the time comes to hunt the purple worm they will gladly join, but now is not the time.
Seeing his chance Tamir joins the conversation and brings his own search for monster components to the attention of his fellow adventurers. “Attention! Dear guildmates, like Zeph I am also searching for monster components. I require a minotaur horn, the mouth tentacle of a mindflayer, and mimic adhesive. If you find any of these monsters on your adventures and can acquire said items you would make me extremely happy!” Ignis Spark the fire genasi responds, “Those monsters are from the stories I’ve read in the library of the Order!”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the common room, Conan sits down and starts reading a book he found during his last quest. He opens “Things you would not expect to be a Mimic” and reads the first page: “THIS!”. Suddenly the book comes to life and starts attacking him. He screams in surprise and the adventurers in the common room spring to action. Ignis Spark the fire genasi aims his crossbow and shoots a bolt spot on into the flapping book. The warlock Poppy Warren follows up with an eldritch blast. Tamir tries to catch the book in his cloak, but the book is too agile. Screaming as the book bites his face Conan tries to rip off the book. Another arrow bores into the book’s cover as Zeph shouts “Take that mimic!”. The heroes in the common room make quick work of the mimic book and before long it falls to the floor. “Do you mind if I take this and gather some mimic adhesive?” Tamir asks Conan. To which he replies, “Take what you need, thank all of you for the help!” Quickly Tamir rushes to the general store for a vial and gathers the mimic adhesive from the motionless book. Meanwhile, Conan starts reading another book he found during his last adventure. The Heroes Roost common room settles down again into a merry bunch of adventurers’ storytelling, drinking, and gambling.

Main story: A mineshaft full of gnolls
Not long after this, Heroes Roost’s tiefling receptionist Violet starts shouting out for the adventuring party expected to clear the mines. “Bluebell, Mevin, Periwinkle, Tamir Code, gather for quest briefing!” The adventurers gather around Violet and she quickly explains the quest details. A mine to the southwest of Wesert has been experiencing an abnormal number of gnoll activity. The party is expected to clear the mine of gnolls, providing a bounty of 10GP for every gnoll ear delivered. Periwinkle and Bluebell ask Violet, “If you’re around when we return, we will share tales of our adventure over a drink or two.”. “I’ll make sure to stay after my shift to hear all of it!”, Violet responds.

The party leaves for the mines. Exiting the city by the west gate and following the road for about half an hour. While on the road the party discusses some trivialities. Periwinkle and Mevin discuss their weapons, the former using a longbow at range and a rapier & shield in close combat, and the latter using magic at range and a handaxe when necessary. Bluebell uses magic, and Tamir admits that he does not fight at all. Tamir is curious about where Bluebell and Periwinkle came from. Bluebell explains they come from the feywild, the scent of summer. In great detail Bluebell talks about her brothers and sisters, and that since she isn’t the eldest it wasn’t a problem that she and Periwinkle left to travel. “Talking about names, mine is an anagram.”, Tamir Code confesses. “I thought your name was Tamir.”, Periwinkle quips. Tamir explains, “An anagram is when you use the letters of a word to make another word.” Having heard this Periwinkle starts thinking about anagrams for Tamir Code. Between conversations, he continues to wagers a few guesses. “Mater Dioc?”, “no”, “Dic te Roam?”, “no”, “Trace Mido?”, “no”. Curious about their names Mevin inquires whether it is a coincidence that Bluebell’s and Periwinkle’s names are both blue flowers. Periwinkle confirms that this is the case. He goes on about other feywild names, all flowers or herbs. He dislikes herby names. “What about fungi?”, Tamir asks. Periwinkle looks in disgust, “Who would name their child after a fungus?!”. “Rico Datem?”, “no”, “Amir Docte?”, “no”.
Arriving at the mines they find a huge stone quarry from which multiple mines branch out. They ask passing personnel where to find their contact, Foreman Derrek McLadden. The miner directs them to a hut looking out over the quarry. Tamir knocks on the door with his metal fist. “Come in!”, sounds from the hut. “We are here for the Gnoll problem.”, Bluebell mentions happily. The stout human foreman looks relieved, “You must be the people from Heroes Roost! Welcome I am foreman McLadden.”. “I’m currently very busy, you should speak to the mine’s lead Dan McGregor. He’s down in the quarry.”, Derrek McLadden explains. “Is does everyone’s name down here start with Mc or something?”, Periwinkle jokes. Derrek looks up and responds, “Mc stands for miner, so, yeah.” “Give my regards to McNugget.”, Tamir remarks. McLadden looks at the warforged and asks, “You know one of our miners?” “I lived with dwarves for a long time, so I do know a few people.”, Tamir responds. “And also give my regards to McFlurry, McKroket, and McChicken”, Bluebell adds. Unknown with those names the foreman bids the adventurers to seek out the mine’s lead Dan McGregor.

Outside one of the quarries, personnel points the adventurers to a human on the lowest level of the quarry who is currently shouting orders to miners carting ore out of the mine. The party descends down the quarry. “Cori Tedam?”, “no”. Tamir chuckles at the effort Periwinkle is doing to find the correct anagram. Upon reaching the lowest level the adventurers make contact with Dan McGregor. “We’re here for the gnoll problem, sir.”, Mevin explains. The tall brown-bearded human is in the middle of directing the miners to a newfound vein. “Hello hero’s, I’m very busy so follow me. We can talk while we travel to the mine.”, Dan instructs.
Whilst navigating the mines, lead McGregor explains that gnolls have been coming up the shaft for a while. “Usually, they stay on lower levels but recently they have started coming up.”, Dan reveals. Tamir enquires, “Are there any environmental dangers that we should be aware of? Explosive or suffocating gasses, pitfalls, and the like?” “Do we need to bring a bird then?”, Bluebell asks. “These here mines are as safe as can be, no need to worry.”, the lead miner explains. Arriving at the entrance trapdoor to the invested mine section Dan asks, “How long should I wait before I request a new party to try to clear this mine?”. “I would give us about 1-2 days.”, Tamir responds calmly. Meanwhile Periwinkle presents an origami bird to Bluebell, “There is your bird Bluebell.” “Well alright then, good luck! I’ll have someone wait here, just knock on the door if you want out.”, Dan McGregor removes a metal rod from over the trapdoor and guides the adventurers down. Once the party is down the ladder Tamir lights a torch so the party can see. Whilst Tamir is lighting the torch Periwinkle gives an arrow to Bluebell. The satyr imparts the arrow with a spell that causes it to emanate light. Above the trapdoor closes and the heroes can hear the metal rod placed to lock the entrance to the section of the mine. “Emir Tadoc?”, suggests Periwinkle. Tamir responds, “No”.
Quietly the party moves down the mine whilst listening for monsters. Before long they arrive at a T-section and can hear sounds coming from the path to the left. Interested in the other path Periwinkle shoots his light arrow down the silent path. As it soars down the path the party can see the light revealing a path, and where the arrow lands a small room. Deciding that it would be best to go towards the sound first the party starts going down the left path, lest they be surprised while exploring the silent path. The path curves away to the right and at the end the party sees two gnolls pulling at planks on the floor. Quickly Tamir jams the torch he is holding bottom first into the rubble, a makeshift lamp. Periwinkle springs into action and with his rapier he strikes the nearest hyena-like monster with a dreadful strike while he shouts “Cami Trode?”. From behind him, Tamir responds with a solemn “no”. Chanting and weaving Mevin forms a bolt of crackling energy in his hands, he sends it flying into the same gnoll. Bluebell shouts “You’re the ugliest dog I’ve ever seen!”, mocking the damaged gnoll. Running up next to Periwinkle Tamir picks up the gnoll with his arms and says, “Can’t we be friends?”. The lifted gnoll bites Tamir in response, while the second gnoll uses his spear to attack as well. “HOSTILITIES DETECTED!”, sounds from within Tamir as his body starts to deform. His grey metal body starts to extend out after which it flips over and bends to a new dark form as it retracts again. “DECIMATOR CLASS COMBAT DRONE ENGAGING.” Seeing his fellow party member in a pickle Periwinkle rams his rapier through the skull of the gnoll being held by Decimator, who drops the gnoll as it dies. Another bolt of crackling energy forms as Mevin directs it to the spear-wielding gnoll. With a mischievous smile, Bluebell shouts at the remaining gnoll, “You look like a lost little puppy!”. Decimator turns his attention to the remaining gnoll as blades extend out of his fingers. With his bladed hands, he slashes the last gnoll, ribbons of skin fall to the floor. The gnoll dies quickly.

While Periwinkle cuts the ears from the gnolls and fashions them into a necklace with a needle and thread the rest of the party looks around the room. He places the ear necklace around Decimator’s neck who responds with, “NICE DECORATION.”. The planks the gnolls were pulling at are covering a hole deeper into the mine. Over it is a large metal rod that keeps the planks in place. Trying to move the large rod fails, but Bluebell discovers a button and as she presses it the rod gives with. “This is an immovable rod!”, she exclaims. “Let’s put it back while we explore the other path so nothing can come up from down that hole.”, Mevin retorts. Bluebell replaces the immovable rod and the party returns to the T-section. Down the right path, the illuminated arrow still lay untouched. The party stealthily explores and finds another path doubling into the next room. Mevin and Periwinkle stealthily move down the path while Bluebell gets ready to blow her horn in a distraction, Decimator stands guard before Bluebell in case enemies come at the sound. Periwinkle and Mevin sneak around the corridor as Bluebell sounds her horn. Hiding around the corner, with its back turned to the adventurers, a gnoll sits waiting in ambush to the main path. Quickly Periwinkle seizes the moment and surprises the gnoll with a rapier thrust in the back. Hearing fighting Decimator hurries down the main path and notices the gnoll skewered by Periwinkle, on the other side he sees little forms hiding behind a ridge. He walks towards the skewered gnoll, and, with a swing of his greataxe deals a powerful blow to the gnoll. In the background, Bluebell continues sounding her horn. As Periwinkle pulls out his rapier Mevin stands at the ready and sends a bolt of crackling energy into the bleeding wound. The gnoll explodes in a fountain of blood and guts, covering Decimator and Periwinkle.

The little forms on the other side of the room turn out to be many infant gnolls. Whilst the party gathers Bluebell weaves a spell and casts Nathair’s Mischiefs in the area with gnoll infants. Gnoll infants climb out of their hiding places and start gathering in the room, looking curiously at Bluebell. Periwinkle walks into the room and gawks at the little gnolls. A second gnoll appears and moves in between the infant gnolls and the adventurers. Moving in behind Periwinkle Decimator stops and speaks, “ENGAGING THREAT ASSESSMENT” Hearing this Bluebell starts a plea, “Please leave peacefully and we will not hurt you.”. The gnoll looks at Bluebell with a confused look. Repeating her plea Bluebell continues to try to find a peaceful resolution. The second gnoll jumps out at Periwinkle as he approaches and attacks him with a spear. Without hesitation, Periwinkle slashes the gnoll with his rapier. From behind him a handaxe soars past his head and strikes the gnoll in the shoulder. “THREAT DETERMINED!”, sounds from behind him. As Mevin chants and weaves another ball of energy forms, he shoots for the gnoll but misses. Bluebell continues her mischievous spell and the gnolls go temporarily blind. Seeing his chance Periwinkle drives his rapier into the remaining gnoll entering through the armpit and skewering its heart.

As the blind infant gnolls wander around the room Bluebell tries to approach one. It lashes out at her and she avoids the strike. Seeing this the joyful cheery disposition of Periwinkle turns cold. His characteristic grimace turns into a stiff line while his eyes burn with rage, with a quick jab he stabs the blind young gnoll through the head. Meanwhile, Decimator walks around the room “EXTERMINATING THREATS!” as one by one he axes down the remaining gnoll children. Mevin and Bluebell stand by as this bloody event takes place. Periwinkle collects the ears and adds them to the necklace around Decimator’s neck. As Decimator explores the rest of the room, he finds a pile of bones and looks through it. Inside the bone-stack, he finds an old patched robe, which he packs to examine later. Completing his survey of the room he declares, “SURVEY COMPLETE, AREA SECURE”. Seconds go by as Decimator starts to produce a whirring sound and his form starts to revert to that of Tamir Code. Bluebell, Mevin, and Periwinkle stare as the large black war drone turns into his grey peaceful self. Tamir regains his consciousness as his transformation ends.
“Welcome back Tamir”, says Periwinkle.
Confused Tamir looks around the room and is overcome with dread as he discovers all the lifeless bodies before him. He looks down and sees himself covered in blood and guts then, in horror, he discovers the necklace of gnoll ears around his neck.
Tamir drops to his knees and slams his fist into the ground. “No, not again…”, he mutters distraught.
Overcome with pity Mevin walks up to Tamir. “It will be alright, Tamir”, he says in a comforting way.
“I don’t want to kill anymore.”, Tamir says overcome with sadness as Mevin holds him.
“Shall I take that necklace, Tamir?”, Periwinkle asks. Tamir gives the necklace to him.
Then Periwinkle starts putting the bodies to rest while Bluebell plays a funeral tune.
The party takes a short rest while Tamir regains his composure. After the bodies are put to rest Bluebell plays a song of rest while Mevin takes out an alchemy jug and starts pouring beer for Periwinkle, Tamir, and himself to honor the dead. Periwinkle asks Tamir, “Idea Cromt?”. “No”, he responds. Mevin picks up a piece of wood and starts carving a statue.
About an hour later the adventurers decide to venture further into the mineshaft. Tamir reassures the party that he will be alright.

Arriving at the hole barred by the immovable rod Bluebell removes it and the heroes climb down the hole. Landing in a small hallway the party quietly gathers together as Periwinkle glances around the corner. In front of him is a narrow bridge that leads into a platform that circles back under the bridge into another platform. The later platform hosts three gnolls, two like the ones before, and one that seems armored and sporting a glaive, clearly the pack leader.

Periwinkle informs the rest of the gnolls.
Mevin sneaks out to fire an eldritch blast, but the gnolls had seen Periwinkle and stood ready. Bows in had, ready to fire. Two gnolls fire at Mevin, one misses, but the armed gnoll is a better shot and hits. Meanwhile, the third gnoll is climbing up the bridge’s stonework. Periwinkle jumps out and fires an arrow into the climbing gnoll who is unable to dodge.
Walking onto the bridge Tamir sees the gnolls, recognizing them as enemies, and transforms into Decimator, this time the transformation is accompanied by a metal tail extending from his lower back. He jumps down the bridge and swings his axe at the climbing gnoll. The climbing gnolls jump to the floor and together with his similar congener they attack Decimator with spears. One spear misses him as he deflects the second with a whip of his metal tail.
Bluebell shouts at the armed gnoll, “Are you supposed to be tough?! You look as weak as a wet kitten!”. The armed gnoll shoots an arrow at Decimator, it cuts part of his metal skin. Only able to see the armed gnoll Mevin chants and weaves a beam of blue crackling energy and sends it straight into the pack leader. The second the beam touches the pack leader it changes into lightning, forming a bond between Mevin and the armed gnoll, who seems to be the only one receiving damage from the link.

Aiming his bow Periwinkle shoots a wind-accelerated arrow into the pack leader, a painful hit straight in the shoulder. Decimator tries to hit the wounded regular gnoll next to him but his greataxe misses. The two regular gnolls coordinate their strike against Decimator who is barely able to evade one with his tail, the other spear penetrates his metal skin.

Standing over on the bridge Bluebell wraps herself in glamour and takes a wondrous appearance. With this, she inspires her party to keep fighting without growing fatigued. The armed pack lord runs up to Decimator and positions himself under the bridge, out of sight of the rangers and magicians. Yet the lightning connecting him and Mevin remains as it flows around the stonework.
The pack leader then strikes two times at Decimator with his large glaive but misses both times. The black warforged returns the favor by slamming his greataxe deep down the pack lord’s uninjured shoulder. Just as the greataxe is pulled free Mevin sends her magic power into the lightning link and the pack leader explodes.
While this is happening, Bluebell focuses her attention on one of the damaged regular gnolls and whispers to it, the gnoll starts to look around terrified and starts clawing away at his own face. Trying to stop the whispers it claws away its skin and scratches away the bone, it tears out brain tissue before falling dead towards the ground. Periwinkle quickly finishes off the last remaining gnoll as the party starts to inspect the platform.

An orange-colored portal hovers in the corner. It looks menacing, hues of red and yellow twisting over the boundary. Bluebell knows these kinds of portals should have an anchor on both sides of the portal, so the party starts looking for something that might look like an anchor. Searching through the cave they discover nothing that could be considered as an anchor. Periwinkle decides to stick his head through the portal while Bluebell and Tamir hold him. He goes in and quickly pulls back as he warns “FIGHT!”. Almost immediately two gnolls come through the portal, an armed pack leader and another larger one with bone armor. Periwinkle manages to prepare an attack and immediately slashes the armed gnoll as he comes through. The gnoll returns the favor by hitting Periwinkle with its glaive. Immediately after, the bone-armored gnoll tries to bite Periwinkle but misses. It follows up with two axe attacks against Decimator who starts to look pretty damaged. Paying back the bone-armored gnoll Mevin sends an eldritch blast straight at its face. Periwinkle lands another expert slash on the pack leader as it hits him back in revenge. On top of the bridge, Bluebell spits on the gnoll fighting Periwinkle, mocking its fighting. To finish him off Decimator lifts his greataxe way up above his head and cleaves the pack leader in twain. The remaining gnoll snarls then lashes out to Decimator whilst biting Periwinkle, after which it runs away through the portal. Decimator fires a javelin through the portal after the gnoll, but the portal conceals whether it hits. Periwinkle offers a healing potion to Decimator, who looks like a sore mess. Whilst waiting for a response the black warforged turns one of his javelins into a stake. He fixes the javelin to the ground so the point is aimed right at the portal, impaling anyone coming through. An arrow flies out of the portal, aimed at the location Decimator was standing earlier. Meanwhile, Bluebell is franticly looking around for an anchor that could hold the portal open. Whilst Decimator turns a second javelin into a stake Mevin and Periwinkle ready attacks, keeping a close eye on the portal. Bluebell finds a portal rune behind the portal, but it looks like any power it had has been lost. Hearing this Periwinkle notes that on the other side of the portal two gnolls looked like they were holding the portal open through sheer force. At this moment the portal starts to shimmer and the bone-armored gnoll returns, he is immediately impaled on two stakes as he is pushed out of the portal. Snarling in pain the gnoll pulls out the two javelins from his torso and breaks them with his hands. With attacks at the ready both Periwinkle and Mevin launch their attacks at the gnoll. “Yo mama so ugly, her birth certificate is an apology letter!”, Bluebell shouts at the gnoll. The fight continues with attacks back and forth and the gnoll slowly turns into a bloody pulp. Decimator – convinced that his blow would be the last -, hits the gnoll. But the hit is off and barely deals any damage after which the gnoll bites Decimator in return, who falls down to the floor, unconscious. The gnoll then runs back through the portal.

Quickly Bluebell runs towards Decimator and feeds him the party’s last healing potion. The party waits for a while in preparation for the gnoll to return, but after a few minutes, it seems like it has fled. To prevent the portal from collapsing Bluebell fixates the immovable rod at the portal edge while Decimator holds the other side of the portal. Periwinkle goes through to attack the gnolls holding the portal on the other side. Whilst on the other side he sees an army marching towards the portal, they are still far away. But he can see that outriders are speeding towards his location. He quickly attacks the closes gnoll holding the portal open who releases the portal. Noticing that the portal is being held open the two gnolls follow Periwinkle back to our side. The gnolls attack Periwinkle. Decimator releases the portal to fight the gnolls. After noticing a shrinking of the portal one of the gnolls takes his place, holding open the portal. The free gnoll hits Decimator, who goes down again. Bluebell removes the rod from the other side, causing the second gnoll to rush to the portal to hold open the other side. With a crackling blast of energy, Mevin evaporates the first gnoll, causing the portal to slowly start shrinking. The last gnoll stands inside the portal, trying to force all sides of the portal to stop shrinking. Bluebell, Mevin, and Periwinkle take turns trying to kick the gnoll out of the portal. Eventually, Mevin succeeds as the portal winks out of existence, splitting the gnoll. Quickly Bluebell destroys the powerless rune, “just in case”.

The party waits for Decimator to regain consciousness whilst gathering all remaining ears.
In this time Periwinkle takes time drawing flowers upon Decimator’s body.
Mevin finishes carving an exquisite statue of a squirrel out of a piece of wood.
Upon regaining consciousness Decimator concludes the area is safe and turns back into Tamir Code.
Too exhausted to think or care about what he’s missed.
Mevin presents the squirrel statue to Tamir as a gift.
The party then ascends the mine.
Upon exiting the mine Bluebell advises the foreman to contact the mage’s guild and city guards with details about the gnoll portal and see to that they figure out what is going on.
The party then returns to the guild. They receive 420GP for the gnolls ears. After examining the patched robe, they find it to be a Robe of useful items.
It has a bunch of useful patches, but there also are four patches depicting a bag of 100GP and four patches depicting a healing potion. The party divides the gold and healing potions amongst themselves. The patched robe is taken by Periwinkle, and the immovable rod goes to Mevin.
The party then rests in the guild common room and drinks whilst telling tales of their latest adventure.

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